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July 13, 1979: Friday the 13th Bad Luck for the Pirates


The Pirates came into Friday the 13th with a four-game winning streak, but their luck disappeared.  The Braves got 14 baserunners and brought home all but one of them in a 13-4 trouncing of the Bucs.  The teams had eight hits apiece, but half the Braves’ hits left the park.

The game didn’t start so badly against Braves’ starter Phil Niekro.  Omar Moreno led off the game with a single and picked up his 35th steal.  (He got his 36th later.)  Tim Foli singled in Moreno and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Willie Stargell.

Atlanta got one back in the bottom of the first on a Bob Horner home run off Jim Rooker.  The dam then burst in the second as the Braves scored seven times.  A walk, two singles, a fielder’s choice and a double produced three runs.  After an intentional walk to Horner, Jeff Burroughs launched a grand slam to run the score to 8-2.

Rooker hung on through the fourth, saving the bullpen a little.  The Braves got two more runs in that inning on a walk and another Horner bomb, leaving Rooker with ten runs on his ledger.

With all the mystery removed, Niekro finished out the game.  The Pirates got two more in the seventh on an RBI hit by Moreno and a fielder’s choice.  Enrique Romo threw the last four innings for the Pirates.  He allowed only three runners, but two of them preceded a Mike Lum home run, leaving the Braves’ tally at 13.

Rooker dropped to 2-4.  The Expos split a doubleheader, leaving the Pirates in fourth place, five games out of first.

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Wilbur Miller
Wilbur Miller
Having followed the Pirates fanatically since 1965, Wilbur Miller is one of the fast-dwindling number of fans who’ve actually seen good Pirate teams. He’s even seen Hall-of-Fame Pirates who didn’t get traded mid-career, if you can imagine such a thing. His first in-person game was a 5-4, 11-inning win at Forbes Field over Milwaukee (no, not that one). He’s been writing about the Pirates at various locations online for over 20 years. It has its frustrations, but it’s certainly more cathartic than writing legal stuff. Wilbur is retired and now lives in Bradenton with his wife and three temperamental cats.

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